Rebuilding Cowboys show off work

Published 2:23 pm Saturday, March 16, 2024

With the sound of construction on the new press box as a backdrop, the Cowboys returned to work rebuilding themselves Saturday morning inside their stadium.

During a 90-minute scrimmage, McNeese State showed off some of the new pieces as the Cowboys continued to try and wash away memories of last season.

“Overall, I’m pretty pleased,” said Gary Goff, who enters his third year as the Cowboy head coach. “There were still too many mistakes we have to clean up, but there were a lot of good things out there as well.”

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It was the first scrimmage of the spring camp for McNeese and marked the halfway point of the formal workouts. The Cowboys will scrimmage again next Saturday and finish on Thursday night, March 28 with the annual spring game under the lights.

“There is still a long way to go but I like a lot of what we are doing,” said Goff. “We have a lot of competition going on and that only makes you better.”

Overall, the Cowboys’ offense rolled up 447 total yards – 284 passing and 157 rushing, and three touchdowns, all passing. Over 85 plays, 30 went for a 10-yard gain or more, 10 at 20-plus yards, four plays that went for 30 or more and one that gained more than 50.

Most eyes were on the quarterbacks, as usual. The battle for the starting job is a long way from over and all three of McNeese’s options were on display. Each had their moments of good and bad.

“We missed some plays and they made some plays, especially some deep throws,” said Goff. “We had more explosive plays overall which we needed to show.”

Newcomer Alex Flores, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA, completed 9 of 21 passes for 159 yards with a touchdown and interception. 

Redshirt freshman Kamden Sixkiller, who started late last season, finished 8 of 12 for 146 and a score while Nate Glantz, last year’s first starter, was 5 of 11 for 79 yards with a TD.

The trio ended the day 22 of 44 for 284 and three touchdowns. Each had a couple of passes dropped on them as well.

Riverside (CA) College transfer Bryce Strong and redshirt sophomore Jo’Shon Barbie led the running game. Both had 66 yards with Strong’s coming on 11 carries and Barbie’s on 10.

“I wanted to go out there and set a tone, give us a spark,” said Strong. “I think I can fill a lot of roles. I can catch the ball, be powerful and hit the holes quick.”

Curtis “CJ” Deville, a transfer from Purdue and Kinder native, showed his skills as a receiver. Deville had three catches for 74 yards and two scores, including a leaping one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone on a 5-yard toss from Flores. The two also teamed for a 59-yard bomb, the biggest play of the scrimmage.

“Curtis Deville showed he can make the big plays,” said Goff. “We need that. We have to keep him in attack mode.”

Niko Johnson, a redshirt freshman, had two catches for 20 yards including a touchdown. Barbie and Jihad Marks each had two grabs as 11 different Cowboys caught passes.

Dartmouth graduate transfer Marcus White, a linebacker, came off the edge for three of the defense’s six sacks. He also led with four tackles for loss, half of the Cowboy total.

“The defense wanted to come out quick and be explosive,” said White. “I was just trying to get off the ball fast and make something happen.”

Louisiana-Lafayette transfer Cejae Ceaser, a sophomore from Iowa High, had the only interception and likely would have scored but the play was whistled dead before he hit the end zone. 

Dekhoury Flagg and Cody Smith were each credited with breaking up passes. 

“We have got some people who can make plays,” said Goff. “What we have to do is stay away from negative plays that put us in bad positions.”

And the Cowboys must keep putting the work in to keep the rebuild going.